$270k painting boosts Christchurch reliefAMANDA FISHER
Last updated 05:00 30/03/2011
When Dick Scott bought the Don Binney painting he has given to the Christchurch earthquake recovery, he could not afford the 50 guineas it cost, but last night it sold for a record-setting $270,000.
Kotare over the Ratana Church, Te Kao 1964 was sold for $45,000 more than the previous high for a Binney work, with all funds going to Christchurch.
Mr Scott was at the auction to watch five determined bidders do battle in a 15-minute auction, which attracted overseas bidders and a packed auction house. The painting was bought by a man in the room.
Mr Scott said he had had more than 50 good years with his first major art purchase and was "not at all bothered" with his decision to sell it.
"It's been a great connection, but 50 years is a long time and my sons and daughters are scattered around the world and I thought this member of the family can help Christchurch," he said, before adding: "I'm not generally generous, [this] is freakish behaviour."
He had no personal connection to Christchurch but wanted to do something to help.
When Mr Scott, a writer and historian, bought the painting from an art dealer he knew, he could not afford the price tag so he gave the dealer 12 copies of his recent wine book as part-payment.
Webb's auction house in Auckland had hoped to raise $250,000 and started the bidding at $200,000. The winner did not want to be identified, but Mr Scott described him as an "extremely rich man" and expressed some sadness that it had not gone to someone with less money.
He hoped the painting, which had been exhibited all around the world, would still be made available to the public.
Webb's spokeswoman Renee Tanner said Mr Scott was given a huge round of applause from everyone present.
Head of fine arts Sophie Coupland said she was stunned by Mr Scott's generous gesture. "It is unprecedented within memory for a work of this significance to be sold entirely for charity."